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Sainsbury’s pledges to boost sales of lower alcohol products

23 March 2012

BWS aisle

Sainsbury’s has signed up to the Government’s latest pledge under the Public Health Responsibility Deal to increase the range of reduced-alcohol drinks available on the market.

As part of the deal, the Department of Health have today announced a new pledge to remove 1 billion units of alcohol sold annually from the market by December 2015 by improving the choice of lower alcohol products.

Sainsbury's is one of a number of companies spearheading this initiative to improve the choice of low alcohol products available. The retailer has already committed to double the sales of lighter alcohol wine and reduce the average alcohol content (ABV) of own brand wine and beer by 2020, as set out in the company's £1 billion 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan.

Helen Buck, Sainsbury's Retail Director and Chair of Sainsbury's Alcohol Steering Group, welcomed the new pledge: "This initiative is a welcome move and, as a responsible retailer, we're pleased to be one of the leading companies spearheading the pledge. We're seeing a growing trend in the number of people buying lighter alcohol wine and we've already made a clear commitment to reduce the average alcohol content of all our own brand beer and wine by 2020. By signing up to all the alcohol pledges in the Government's Responsibility Deal, we hope we can play a constructive role in bringing real change in this area."

Sales of low alcohol wine (below 10.5%) have increased recently at Sainsbury's (15% year on year) and ranges of low alcohol beer have also been extended, including Bavaria Lager (2.8% ABV) and Bavaria Shandy (0.9%). The retailer recently distributed over 260,000 unit calculator wheels to promote lower alcohol drinks, and new wines are due to be launched to boost the existing range include a Taste the Difference Fairtrade Moscato.

Sainsbury's is an active supporter of Drinkaware and signatory of all the alcohol pledges of the Department of Health's Public Health Responsibility Deal. To help reduce under-age purchase of alcohol Sainsbury's operates a rigorous Think 25 policy and the retailer has been a partner in the Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) scheme since 2007. All Sainsbury's own brand alcohol products include Department of Health approved information about units.

The Government's Alcohol Strategy has also been published today which includes proposals for minimum pricing and a ban on multibuys. Sainsbury's does not support these proposals as they will unfairly penalise the vast majority of customers who buy alcohol as part of their grocery shop and drink responsibly. Sainsbury's also believes that there is no simple link between price, consumption and alcohol misuse.

Notes to editors

  • As part of the Sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan we will double the sales of lighter alcohol wine and reduce the average alcohol content (ABV) of own brand wine and beer by 2020.
  • For more information on the Responsibility Deal, visit the Department of Health's website.
  • Sainsbury's is committed to helping customers Live Well For Less. We do this by showing customers how they can live well - with great quality and standards - for less - less money than you thought, with less hassle and less impact on the environment. For further details visit Live Well For Less.